The British Great Grocery Revolution
The austerity-busting pattern of growth that supermarkets enjoyed since the financial crisis came to an abrupt halt.
In 2014 the austerity-busting pattern of growth that British supermarkets enjoyed since the financial crisis of 2008 came to an abrupt halt. Between the years 2008 and 2013, the grocers averaged annual revenue growth of 4.7%. In 2014 this fell to just 1.3%. In November the market actually contracted for the first time this century. It was a watershed moment which prompted a lot of soul-searching within the industry; what has gone wrong?
Many have speculated the answer to this question. On the basis of anecdotes, personal experience and claimed shopping behaviour, a narrative has been constructed that says Britain is undergoing a revolution in shopping habits. This narrative follows that consumers are shopping more frequently, buying smaller baskets, rushing to convenience stores, and shopping around to seek out
value. Some have declared that the weekly shop is dead, others that we are now shopping ‘like the Germans’.
These assertions are headline grabbing, but are largely based on hearsay. Evidence matters, and Kantar Worldpanel’s continuous panel of 30,000 British households provides data which is the most accurate read of what is actually happening in the grocery market. Based on this evidence, this paper will set out the changes that are actually occurring, dispel a few myths, and ultimately paint an accurate picture of how the British shopper is behaving.
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